Monday, April 15, 2013

Product Review: NewAir AIC-210S Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker

Image courtesy of NewAir
About a month ago we got an email from NewAir asking if we wanted to try out a compressor ice cream maker -- the NewAir AIC-210S Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker. Um, ok! I have never used a compressor ice cream maker so I was excited for the experience. Tina and I decided we would share the ice cream maker, but I would try my turn at it first.

It arrived only a few days before I got an new ice cream book as a gift. I hadn't made ice cream in a while, what with a new baby and all, and I thought a new book and a new ice cream maker were the perfect combo to get me in the mood.

So I cracked open the new book, whipped up a few recipes from it, and tested the out in this new machine.

I then got an email from a friend who had also gotten a sample of the machine and he asked how I liked the machine. I wrote and told him

Tina graciously let the machine be sent to my house, so I am the only one who has tried it and I will be the only one who is trying it since we were going to share it but I really like it so she may never see it! Just kidding!!!! Of course Tina will get her turn! I can't wait for her to use it too!

I have only used it once so far, but it has gotten me back on an ice cream making kick again (and I want to try your recipe for cake batter ice cream!)

In my opinion (and I might just turn this into a post!) it has it's pros and cons.

One thing I love about the NewAir is that it is so quiet! The Cuisinart I have is SO loud. I also think the NewAir is easier to clean (I hate cleaning the paddle on the Cuisinart ICE-20 I have -- but the newer version ICE-21 paddle looks easier to clean!!!), easier to make ice cream on a whim (I usually leave my canisters in my chest freezer, but sometimes I forget to replace them, or in the summer for the ice cream party, I have four or so in my chest freezer waiting to be used -- the compressor eliminates all that)...

The volume is smaller in the NewAir (1 qt) as opposed to 1.5 qt. I am not sure this matters. It IS bulkier (and certainly heavier to take out and put away and I don't think my husband wants it living on our counter) -- at the same time, it's more contained. With the Cuisinart, I have to store the motor, etc in one place together and the freezer bowls elsewhere.

He then replied that he had found the ice cream much icier and airier in the new machine than in the machine he usually uses, and I realized I had told him everything about the process but nothing about the product! Truth be told, I hadn't focused on the texture of the ice cream I had made because the first batch was that super sour kiwi ice cream and the second batch I had only tasted right out of the machine and I really like my ice cream to ripen. So I tested the texture of the second batch.

I wasn't impressed. My ice cream seemed icy and not too smooth. Wait! Keep reading!

I began to wonder if the problem was the recipe. I had made a new vanilla ice cream recipe, and deviating from the recipe, I had used Ground Madagascar Vanilla Beans. Maybe the texture that was bothering me was the ground beans (they do work out lovely in cupcakes, but maybe they aren't meant for ice cream).

In his email, the friend had also mentioned that he was going to try a side by side comparison with his new machine and his old machine. Oh, wait! Great idea, I thought. I hadn't thought to do that. AND I was testing recipes I had never tried before. And I had even altered one of them. Maybe my review wasn't all that fair.

So I went to my favorite recipe, my standby, go-to vanilla. I love the flavor and the texture, and I also love how it makes up a big batch of base...and I also love how you can make the base and put different flavors and additions and make tons of different flavors from the same basic recipe.

So then I churned it, in both my Cuisinart and the new NewAir. Right out of the machine, I have to say, I was really impressed. The ice cream wasn't icy, it was incredibly smooth, and just dense enough. Side-by-side, the NewAir ice cream seemed to be a little lighter and a little airier than the Cuisinart, but the difference was incredibly minor and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference had I not been acutely aware of whether the machine made “airier” ice cream. I had a friend over who enjoyed the ice cream from both machines (I put a scoop of each in her bowl) and even after I told her each scoop was different, she couldn’t distinguish a difference and only reported back that she thought it was very good vanilla ice cream.

In the end, this product was a success. I’d be interested to see Tina’s review when she has a chance to play with the machine.

As for our ice cream making friend who had bad luck, our emails uncovered a few thoughts as to why he felt differently. He’s a self proclaimed ice cream geek with good reason. While Tina and my ice cream making background is purely self taught, this friend has a scientific background in ice cream making. Maybe his palette is a bit more discriminating. He also uses a fancier machine than we do. Tina uses a KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment, I use a Cuisinart, and he uses a Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker, so maybe the $200 NewAir is a big step down from his machine.

If I were to buy a compressor machine, would this be the one I’d choose? I can’t say. I haven’t been given any other ice cream makers to try, so I have nothing to compare it to. But as for my first experience with a compressor machine, I had a lot of fun and saw a lot of postives in it, and the price is pretty reasonable for a compressor machine, so I’d certainly consider it.

Stay tuned for Tina’s review as well as additonal tests from me!

1 comment:

Bethany Schlegel said...

On sale today!


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